Britain to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit
Britain says it will make it easier for Chinese citizens to get visas. UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who is in China leading a British trade delegation, promises that the new measures will help the tens of thousands of Chinese visitors who hope to visit Britain every year.
Under the proposals, Chinese tourists visiting the European Union using selected travel agencies will no longer have to file a separate application to visit Britain, which is not part of the EU’s "Schengen Area" for border-free travel. There will also be other measures to be announced to simplify and speed up visa applications for visitors from China.
Some 210,000 visas were issued to Chinese nationals in 2012, adding around 480 million U.S. dollars to the British economy. But Britain lags behind in the total expenditure of Chinese travellers in Europe, only ranking in sixth place.
According to the British Tourism Bureau, Chinese travellers spent 1,600 pounds each in the UK last year on average. The expenditure per person is 3 times than that of travellers from other countries. London’s hotels, restaurants and tourist sites have also reported good things about the manner of Chinese travellers.
At the same time, Britain’s tourist departments also have increased services targeted exclusively at Chinese tourists. Some hotels now provide thermos flasks, access to CCTV’s international channels and Chinese style breakfasts. And more and more shops are hiring Chinese speaking assistants.
"We have hired seven new members of staff who can speak Mandarin or Cantonese. Fees can now be paid using cards within the China Bank Union. Also, everyone knows tea culture is important to Chinese people, so in every room for Chinese tourists we’ve prepared thermos flasks. We’ve also added porridge, dim sum and fried noodles to the breakfast menu," said Corinthia Hotel London Sales Manager Zhao Aiwei.
A survey held among London’s hotels, restaurants and tourist sites shows that young Chinese tourists are considerate and willing to immerse themselves in different cultures.
At the Ritz London, some Chinese young people are trying afternoon tea, while listening to stories explaining the custom. Other savvy hotel managers attract tourists using tea and porcelain, two everyday items familiar to Chinese people, but also considered quintessentially English.